My Life Journey & Organ Donation

In life, we experience many moments of peace and happiness, yet sometimes we lose our focus. We forget about the important things in our lives. We forget the moments in our lives that have made us who we are now, and those that have shaped our future direction. 

I wanted to share my personal life experience with you, the journey that my life has taken, overcoming adversity to achieve my dream of working in Television Production, being able to travel the world and now my focusing upon my next goal; continuing to create engaging and thought provoking photography.  

Through sharing my life experience, I also wanted to share how discovering the practice of yoga has helped me personally. 

6am on a cold, dark, brisk November morning and a new beginning.  I was brought into this world by two awesome and supportive parents but what no one could ever have anticipated was the challenging journey that lay ahead.  I was born with Chronic Renal Failure (Kidney Failure) and it was not known if I would even reach my first birthday, but in moments of darkness, in the challenging times that have passed, you focus with that inner strength and fight with determination and courage, so that light still shines bright. 

After 8 years of a slow deterioration in the function of my kidneys, in March 1988 I started Dialysis treatment which meant I had to have constant dialysis through the night, every night.  I was also placed on the renal transplant list because to prolong my life, and not be dependent on dialysis, a kidney transplant would be needed. Just 5 months later, on August 26th 1988 whilst on a family holiday in Jersey there was a telephone call, it was the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham calling to say that had a kidney for me.

My life had now changed.  I could now lead a better quality of life; play football, run without getting out of breath, eat what I liked and go to school, enjoy life and focus on my dream of working in television production.   

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a kidney transplant will last forever and in November 1996 my kidney rejected and I was back on dialysis and back on the transplant list having to wait patiently again for another kidney to come along.  But just like in any aspect of life you have to remain focused with dedication and discipline and believe that everything will be ok But I also believe that it is ok not to be ok. I have always been resilient and had that inner strength within me and have used that to progress with my life with a positive state of mind, overcoming the challenges that I have faced to achieve my ambitions and dreams, and I am doing that now, sharing my love of photography.

I received another kidney transplant in 1997 and that lasted for four years.  Kidney number 2 rejected after I got e-coli septicemia and spent 6 weeks in a coma.  My lungs collapsed and my body experienced multi-organ shut down. It is moments like these that make you stronger than you already are and as Bruce Lee once said; “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”    

For the following 9 years, after miraculously surviving a coma, I received my third kidney transplant in 2009.  It was a long 9 years, trying to get on with my life, working hard to achieve my goal whilst spending 4 hours hooked up to a dialysis machine 3 times per week – it was not easy.  You feel tired, a lack of energy and realise the quality of your life becomes restricted, you are limited with the things that you can do and it does have an impact on you, not just physically but mentally also. 

In 2013 I found yoga as a way of helping and overcoming the difficult moments that I had experienced in my life.  And I will be honest and say at first I was reluctant to attend a yoga class, as yoga was generally seen as a female dominated arena and I feared  stepping into that arena, that yoga studio, and out of my comfort zone. Self-doubt creeps in, you experience a lack of confidence as you think you won’t be any good at it and people will be watching you and also what your mates would think if you were attending a yoga class! 

But with that positive attitude I have always had, I started going to yoga classes and I have not stopped for the past 5 years…yoga is cool and I love it!  The practice of yoga has helped me on my own personal journey of self discovery; overcoming adversity, improving my confidence and to strengthen myself, not just in the physical sense but in the mind.  Whether my practice involves an invigorating vinyasa flow, relaxing in restorative yin postures or practicing Jivamukti, which with its combination of physical asanas, meditation and music, I have learnt to be more patient and focused in everyday life, yoga has helped me to manage my anxiety and has taught me to be aware of the present moment; not dwell on the past and not worry about the future.  

The art form of yoga is more than just a physical practice, it has enabled me to develop a understanding of its deep-rooted values and philosophy which I try to bring into my everyday life and express through my photography when collaborating with yoga teachers and other clients.     

40 years on from that the frosty November morning, where it wasn’t known if I would make my first birthday, and 10 years since my third kidney transplant, as we enter a new decade and I look back and reflect upon the difficult moments that I have experienced, I have realised that the challenges that you face help you to become stronger in every aspect of your life and encourage you to just be the best version of you.

2020 for me is not about New Year’s resolutions, it is the start of a new beginning and my intention and goal is simply to continue to lead a life that I am grateful for.  And my life would not be what it is now without the kindness and generosity of the organ donors who lost their lives. My life changed because someone somewhere lost theirs.  I would have never been able to travel the world and do the things I love without the generosity of one person donating their organ – but it wasn’t just me that was given a new life, up to the lives of 9 people can be saved from just one human being donating their organs.

The notion of sharing my story is not just to inspire you and others who have been through a similar situation as myself, or are going through a challenging moment right now that can affect your mental wellbeing and experience feelings of self-doubt, it is for those that want to make a difference and create that opportunity for those like me to lead that normal quality of life.  And you can make that difference by being an Organ Donor, so more people like myself will be able to achieve their dreams, goals and life aspirations.    

I hope the journey that my life has taken inspires you to focus on your dreams and aspirations and despite the challenging moments that you may be facing in your life, don’t give up.  And I would encourage everyone, including all the guys out there to go to a yoga class and give it a try! 

As a thank you to all the organ donors and their families out there who donate their organs to save the lives of others, and for the appreciation I have for the life that I lead now, I will be donating a proportion of my profits throughout 2020 to the NHS Organ Donation charity. 

I am strong and I am humble and eternally grateful and full of gratitude for the kindness and support from all of those around me; my friends and my family, for without their love and support, I would not be the person I am today.

So, with my personal dedicated practice to yoga that has enabled me to develop an understanding of its deep-rooted values and philosophy which, I try to bring into my everyday life and express through my photography when collaborating with yoga teachers and other clients, a passion for portrait and lifestyle photography and an understanding of the importance of health and fitness for a positive state of mind, these are the areas where I believe I can use my creativity to create and capture engaging content that inspires and represents the values of you and your brand.  

My purpose is simply to help you have the freedom to focus, create and express your own creativity and bring your vision to life so that you can help, inspire and encourage others in their lives. 

If you would like to discuss your ideas and would like me to capture your vision please send me an email to info@sukhinocaptures.com  And to find out more about Organ Donation and to Register your interest in becoming a living Organ Donor please click here.

Namaste,

Andrew

 

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